This is to explore some ways to expand the nation's skill set and knowledge base while also enabling the manufacture of some products at prices competitive with similar products made offshore, and particularly brings the man millions of under-employed Americans back into the overall productivity of the nation.Background:
Fifteen million Americans currently unemployed - and lots more probably under-employed - represents an enormous human potential for productivity. Surely there are ways to utilize this productivity potential as a group while waiting for an adequate job to "happen" for us individually. We probably don't have to be merely existing at the mercy of businesses who are looking for employees to do the work. We can be putting more attention into our independent health, maintaining and expanding our skill sets and knowledge base. And more than that, we can explore being productive as volunteer workers and even creating jobs themselves.
Looking at how this would fit into the larger picture, President Obama has focused on boosting America's productivity, focusing on "to build stuff and invent stuff" more than is already happing, so as to both provide products that we and the world need, but also to provide jobs for people so as to provide them income while adding to the nation's productivity.
Expecting the free enterprise system to automatically create the businesses that efficiently employ those 15 million unemployed people clearly has not worked. Part of it is that a business that is solely focused in providing the most profit for the investors, it has been far more economical to have work done offshore than to utilize our own people to do the jobs. The cost of living, particularly housing, in America is far higher than it is in the developing countries, and thus our wages have to be comparably higher.
To fit into this picture, this means that our individual work has to far out-produce that of the typical offshore employee's work, so that our pay is high enough to cover our much higher living expenses. Can we do this? After all, it has always been up to the employer, the business people, to provide us the jobs that pay us enough to enable our living nicely.
As a worker we usually desire to have a nicely adequate income while doing work that is a fairly good fit for our native aptitudes and learned skill sets and learned knowledge base, and provides a feeling of doing something innately worthwhile, too, insofar as possible. What can we do to enhance the return to this way of life, while no one is paying us to do work for them?
Business can be a power game with multiple parameters. One's life as an employee instead of a business owner can still see some of that happening. The bigger picture is that the nation as a whole needs to produce enough to fill the internal needs as well as provide a balance of trade with other nations; but the free enterprise business owner - business person tends to only look at how to make the most profit off of some business territory formed of physical and intellectual property being utilized by workers employed by the business.
The business person is also aware of being part of a bigger picture, but is more likely to be focused on membership obligations of being part of business organizations and political activism. Currently it seems that the GOP may be tying up jobs favoring those who vote for them, may be part of the current job picture; that is a powerful incentive to vote their way so as to keep a good job; all a somewhat covert phenomenon. There are relatively few business owners as compared to workers, and so they need to influence the votes of workers. Gathering all such parameters telling it like it is, is necessary so as to be able to define the problem correctly so as to come up with effective solutions.
A highly useful parameter is that of the individual's Temperament or Jungian-Psyche-type; this defines how the individual can best function in the larger picture including interacting with others of both similar and different types. This author did not discover what his Temperament - type - is, until having had a 44-year employment in jobs that were the opposite to what comes natural to his type. This shows the flexibility we have, the diversity of our individual potentials, but it also shows how ignorance of our type - and lack of awareness of the other types of people with which we interact - can make life unnecessarily hard and be less than optimally productive. A system of typing that seems to nicely describe the types, can be found online at "16types.com" and basically points out that there are four types of people - which could be called catalyst, theorist, stabilizer, and improvisor, per their earlier naming system - and each of those has for possible styles of interaction. Learning this information about oneself and significant others in the job scene can eliminate lots of blind spots in what we do.
Each of is is able to function in all the four types and interaction styles, but it is a whole lot easier to primarily utilize our innate way, which seems to be something we are born with. Having a job that utilizes these innate strengths is as important as well utilizing our education and job skill sets.
The 15 million unemployed are hurting because of lack of income being provided by their life efforts. Unemployment compensation is far less than regular pay, but expenses are less too, such as the cost of commute to work is not there.
But we unemployed and under-employed - and I include many of so-called "retired" folks like myself who would rather be doing some useful work at least part of the time - still have major human resource potential that does not need to go to waste while begging for some business to offer us a job. It would be wise to utilize this human resource potential to the fullest under the circumstances. We have time and home facilities available are resources, and the internet connection to our home computers brings us into useful contact even without an expensive commute to some job somewhere. Some suggested solutions:
Conceivably we can create a job system ourselves, primarily to fill in between "real" jobs, yet conceivably sometimes we could create "real" productive jobs which would be seen as competition by existing businesses. Yet ours is a free enterprise system that ought to work both ways.
An "unemployed" or "under-employed" person can do such things as taking care of their health at home, saving some on medical expenses. We can seek, find, and do volunteer work that practices our employable skill sets or extends into new fields of endeavor - the author currently does volunteer work in data processing for a natural history museum, and does audio book recording, for example, all done from home using his own computer and linked via the internet to the organizations utilizing that volunteer work's product. Doing volunteer work provides expansion of one's skill set, practice of skills to stay in shape, learn new things, do something that feels worthwhile, and is interesting to do to some extent, cheering life up a bit. Especially for people who are "workaholics" who define their life in terms of their job work to a significant extent.
So while waiting for a "real" job, perhaps some of us can create a volunteer job system, one that could easily turn into a money-making thing from which at least part-time pay is eventually received.
The author has looked into the "work at home" ads in email and considers them most likely mere scams, not worthy of attention. Yet the potential for "working at home" seems very real, if not being plied by tricksters.
The job party seems a way that we under-employed can do something about the lack of meaningful work, resolving the problems. The internet connectivity amongst us ought to enable utilization of our skills, knowledge and interests while we are under-employed by conventional job providers, businesses looking for workers.
America was made great by our productivity, such as in agriculture and manufacturing. Agriculture remains as before, but manufacturing has largely gone offshore in the business search for lower cost workers and facilities to get manufacturing done. How can we utilize our existing resources to provide manufacturing at home instead of solely offshore?
Well, we can literally do manufacturing at home, literally at our homes, thus saving the cost of industrial buildings and expense of long commutes that consume time and fuel energy, and wear our vehicles out. Exploring learning how to do this seems a worthy effort for lots of us who are into manufacturing's various aspects.
Some of us were manufacturing supervisors, who could find ways to supervise various home manufacturing activities, linked via the internet. The free Skype video-chat system can even provide almost face to face conversation between such supervisors and those at home who are more focused on doing the physical parts of manufacturing. Skye type interaction also can include sending text between each which can be kept as records for reference after the video conversations are long past.
Our home computers represent a potential for being interfaces between a wide variety of manufacturing equipment that can occupy a desk or workshop area in a home. Conventional hobbyist and home craftsman tools would be starters, but design of specialized sub-assembly manufacture that plugs into one's home computer such as through a USB port, would provide telemetry of how the manufacturing equipment is being used, such as the depth of drilling done by a drill press on the bench, and the temperature of the soldering iron used for hand assembly of printed circuit board assemblies, or the chemical bath composition in making the circuit boards themselves, for example. A home could have several such plug-in subassembly manufacturing setups, available to take on quite different job types, simply by switching between the manufacturing equipment sets. the computer can function as a data collector of what is done at the manufacturing workstation, and it can also supply detailed instructions=s for utilizing the manufacturing equipment. As such, the computer provides a path for home education, expanding the user's knowledge base, and guiding experience that expands the physical skill sets.
One of the first kinds of products of home manufacturing workstations needs to be the workstations themselves, which would be a bootstrap process where ever more complex work-educations plug-in work modules are designed, prototyped, debugged and manufactured at the homes and distributed
The system depends heavily on the delivery system, including UPS, FedEx and other carriers, yet also within a local community could utilize teenagers driving to deliver materials and subassemblies among homes within a relatively local area, thus giving the teenagers - and even retirees - something useful to do in the system.
The system design and engineering of the home manufacturing-education workstations is also amenable to unemployed people at home who have those abilities.
Focus would be on can-do more than on degrees or former employment jobs done. As such there needs to be evaluation constantly going on, both by the home worker and all those involved with what he/she does in relation to the larger system.
Safety would also be needed monitoring such as use of sharp tools and materials that need special handling such as aluminum powder produced in working of aluminum parts, and of volatiles produced by adhesives. Many of these things already are familiar to the "Do It Yourselfers" home hobbyist and crafts people, and this needs to be consciously guided via the internet by safety supervisory volunteer staff. , just like those supervising the details of each manufacturing step done by the workers at their home workstations.Unemployed educators, teachers, and those with basic aptitudes for that kind of thing, could assist in the teaching via the home computer link through the internet, to provide easy instructions for using the equipment to manufacture the subassemblies, and in other places assemble the subassemblies into whole products, and test their quality and functionality; others would provide the packaging manufacture, yet others provide the actual placing in the packaging as a finished product. All these functions could be done at home, the in=-between stages being transported by the commercial carriers and by local volunteer delivery folks.
The initial setup of a home manufacturing-education workstation system needs to be done with existing items, with which then more specialized equipment and systems are developed and built. For example, the cameras on the common iTouch and iPhone can be used to show teachers or supervisors what is being physically done; the close up capability of those cameras is impressive, and if placed against an eye loupe or a microscope, can provide manufacturing feedback to others in great visual detail, such as the inspection of soldering on an printed circuit board assembly, and eventually surface mount assembly and associated jigs for semi-automatic assembly.Drilling, bending, sawing mechanical operations can be watched via such small low cost and widely available devices like the iPhone. An ad just appeared today for software to enable one to make applications for the iPhone/iTouch which might also be useful for adapting these hand held or mountable communication deices for specialized uses in home manufacturing-education workstations.
Developing transducers for measuring dimensions and pressures involved at the home workstation need also be done, for direct telemetry of the ongoing manufacturing 's details, which would be sent over the internet to be evaluated via supervisory computers and volunteer staff.
Most likely, everybody involved in the home education-manufacturing workstation system needs to be frequently provides information as to how it is all progressing in functionality and productivity, as well as how it fits into the large picture of the nation's productivity both potential and actualized. And everybody in the system needs to have the opportunity to provide feedback as to their experiences and ideas for expansion and improvement, to add to the pool of ideas and information to make the system ever better.Potential problems:
The home manufacturing-education workstation system most likely would eventually be seen as unfavorable rivalry to some conventional businesses, that might attempt to stop it, such as by buying it up and dismantling it, or by interfering with it such as by patenting parts of the system and refusing to let anybody make the pieces that were patented, so as to make it hard to have the system function efficiently; such deli=berate interference is considered good business practice, by some companies, unfortunately. And like little kids, some companies really believe they own exclusive rights to everything. Such business people lack the bigger picture of the nation's needs for optimum productivity using out human resources especially.
Another form of this could be from often-illegal but still practiced misuse of the "employment agreement" often required for employment in a high tech industry, which ostensibly is to prevent an employee from stealing a company-created idea or process and going off and starting their own business using it for free. But in reality the wording on such agreements implies the employer automatically freely owns all ideas the employee has or will get during the period of employment, irregardless of the ideas applicability to the job duty performance or even of the fields of interest of the employer, which are usually quite limited. In practice, this has blocked motivation for employes who are inclined to high tech interests and thus are likely to get ideas which are not part of the job performance. In creating the hypothetical home manufacturing-education workstations, if it is getting to look successful, some former employers might try to claim that it violated the terms of the signed "employment agreement" of a former job, just to block progress. But except in a few states, such claims for the ideas spontaneously by employees that are not part of doing their paid-for job, are righteously considered invalid; and the employer can no longer threaten to fire the employee for exploring a non-job-related idea on his/her own time, since the person is no longer working for them, of course. Although there could be the threat to blacklist the employee when references are required from one's resume looking for formal work, which could be a problem.
Nonetheless, in general, business people are more honest and responsible than that, and hopefully regular business corporations will approve of the skill-enhancing function of the home manufacturing-education workstation project, if it comes into reality.References:
Reviving America by a combined co-located industry with higher education concept http://kestsgeojedc.blogspot.com/2009/08/co-located-industry-education-sites-to.html
Home internet-linked manufacturing workstations http://kestsgeojedc.blogspot.com/2009/01/home-internet-linked-manufacturing.html
A rant re jobs, corporations and the economic situation: http://kestsgeojedc.blogspot.com/2010/02/rant-re-jobs-corporations-and-economic.html
See also my article on scribd: http://www.scribd.com/doc/14139124/Home-Internetlinked-Manufacturing-Workstations